As far as the gravity of the offense, the minor ones would be soliciting for prostitution and prostitution, which are misdemeanors. However, promotion of prostitution is a felony. Indecent Exposure would be a misdemeanor as well; then of course, there’s rape which is called sexual battery, and then all of those under that would be lewd assault or lewd behavior. Plus there’s a whole gamut of online sex crimes now.
It’s a felony to download pictures of minors who are nude or engaged in sex acts. It’s unlawful to solicit a minor online for a sexual act. It’s also unlawful to travel to meet a minor with the intent to commit a sex act. Those are very popular now, because the police agencies have dedicated officers who scour the internet and chat rooms, often posing as a minor, to engage someone predisposed to soliciting sex. Those people are nabbed routinely, because you can be found out. Your location, i.e. where you are with your computer, is discoverable even though a lot of people don’t realize that.
What About Minor Offenses Like Soliciting Prostitution or Prostitution?
Soliciting is usually a “setup crime” where a female officer will pose as a prostitute and wait until the John, as they call them, solicits a sex act, and then a signal is given and other officers rush in and arrest that person for soliciting. They routinely do that all through the night and generally round up dozens of men and charge them with solicitation.
On the other side of the coin we’ve got prostitution, and that generally also occurs in a setup circumstance where a woman will advertise as an escort and be contacted by an undercover police officer. When she meets up with the undercover officer, she’ll offer her services for money and then she’ll be arrested for soliciting or prostitution.
Do People Generally Admit to the Offense or Feign Innocence When Arrested for a Sex Crime?
Generally, the people that are nabbed in these sting operations freely admit to what they’ve done and ask for some type of break. The police aren’t there to give them a break, and they arrest them. Depending on how significant their criminal history is, the court and the judge can give them a break. First time offenders or people with very little criminal history can get a disposition that will avoid a criminal conviction on their record.
Does There Have To Be An Actual Exchange Of Money Or Does A Verbal Agreement Suffice for Solicitation?
Soliciting is engaging in a conversation about exchanging something of value for sex. The conversation itself is the solicitation. The actual act, if it occurred, would be prostitution, but undercover agents don’t go through with the act, or at least they’re not supposed to. There are also related charges like keeping a house for the purpose of prostitution. That’s also a minor offense. If someone works out of apartment, she could be charged with prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, or keeping an abode for the purpose of prostitution.
Are These Sting Operations Typically Videotaped or Recorded?
Sometimes they are but not always. Obviously, it’s better evidence against someone to have it recorded because if it’s not recorded, the person charged could say, “I never said that. They misunderstood what I said.” That could be a viable defense if a jury believes them. If it’s recorded, then there’s not going to be any issue about who said what to whom. The defense of, “I didn’t say what the undercover cop says I said. I said this and they mistook it.” A recording kind of dashes that defense if it was clear there was a solicitation. However, it can corroborate the defense if there was no solicitation. There are times that they do record and times they don’t.
When Someone is Arrested for a Sex Crime, What Generally Happens?
They’ll be in jail just like any other person who is arrested, and they’ll be given a bond that they can post. For minor charges, there might be a pre-trial diversion program which would avoid a conviction at all and results in a dismissal. They might get a couple days in jail. They might be fined. Those are the types of punishments that are doled out for the minor sex offenses.
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